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Akira Kobayashi was born in Japan, where he worked as a typeface designer until 2001. Since 2001, he has been the Type Director at Linotype.
His typefaces at Linotype have included: FF Clifford, FF Acanthus, Conrad, Zapfino Extra (with Hermann Zapf), Optima nova (with Hermann Zapf), Palatino nova (with Hermann Zapf), Palatino Sans (with Hermann Zapf), and Avenir Next (with Adrian Frutiger). Additionally, he designed the new Linotype Office Alliance fonts.